in March , New York times He made a small but significant change to his crossword app: he dropped the “Crossword” part of the name in favor of “Games”. It’s a small but significant shift that acknowledges how the app has grown from a place to play crosswords to a hub for many The New York Times Growing game library.
In addition to daily crosswords, the app now gives you access to small crosswords (” Minnie), WardleA word spelling game called spelling beeand as part of Some recent updatesSudoku and visual puzzle game called tiles. On tuesday, people who sign up for The New York Times Game or All-Access subscriptions will start getting an additional feature: The New York Times Poses access to the last two weeks of spelling bee puzzles so that subscribers have an archive they can scrape.
“It seemed just the right time.”
Some may have noticed that the web version of the publication’s game collection switched to the gaming brand about three years ago. But with the app, “we’ve kind of held up,” Jonathan Knight, head of games at New York timesin an interview with the edge. The original crossword puzzle app launched in 2009 on iOS, ranked highly in the App Store for the word “crossword”. “We were careful about messing with this very healthy funnel,” says Knight. The team has taken a slow approach to bringing more games to the app, and last month, it “seemed like the right time” to switch from crosswords in the name to games.
I started messing around with the app a few weeks ago when I was looking for a good place to play Sudoku. (By then, she had already transformed into a The New York Times Games.) It has since become one of the few apps I keep on my iPhone’s home screen. I don’t have any kind of The New York Times subscription, so I can’t access all the features in the app – I can’t play the daily crossword puzzle, for example – but I was able to get my sudoku solved, and spell some words with spelling beeand try to solve some Wardle Puzzles.
Wardleunsurprisingly, became a mainstay of the The New York Times Game Shows. the The New York Times He acquired it in January 2022 for an undisclosed seven-figure sum shortly after the game became a hit. The New York Times The game is “by far” the most played game, with “tens of millions” of people playing it Wardle Every week, says Knight. The next most popular game is what Knight calls a “tight race” between Minnie And spelling bee, “which kind of enjoys an equal sized audience.” (spelling bee is “the most played game among our subscribers,” according to Knight).
I asked Knight how he thinks of the mix of what’s free and what’s only offered through a subscription. “We think there’s a real role for free games that introduce users to our premium games,” says Knight. Gives an example of how Wardlewhich is free, promotes spelling bee, which requires a sign-up after enough words are spelled. “Wardle That plays a really important role, and I think we’ll always have games that play that role in giving you a taste.”
We don’t want you to be on our app 24/7.
Knight’s goal is The New York Times The Games section will be seen as “the number one subscription destination for digital puzzles”. For Knight, that means things like clean designs, no nickel-and-dumping players, and delivering man-made puzzles every day. “It was a good time,” he says. “We don’t want you to be on our app 24/7. We want you to solve amazing man-made puzzles and then come back the next day.”
Listening to Knight explain the team’s philosophy in his games, I think they’re on to something. I’ve been wondering why The New York Times The gaming app, among all other places to play mobile games, is the one that keeps me coming back. I loved mobile games in the early days of the iPhone, but I’ve avoided many modern games that I feel are designed to tap my worst impulses, and I pretty much can’t keep up with the many releases on Netflix and Apple Arcade.
But in The New York Times Game application, in just a minute or two, I can complete Minnie Or spell a few words spelling bee. If I had five fancy minutes, I’d race to finish an easy sudoku. Sometimes, I click on spelling bee To click on a few letters. Puzzles look fair, and it’s always a fulfillment when I solve them.
Yes, the app has a reasonable number of prompts to sign up. But it is usually easy to ignore. However, they actually kind of work. I’m thinking of trying the full crossword puzzle, but this one is only available to paying subscribers. This puzzle might be enough to get me to sign up – but while I think about it, I’ll try another sudoku instead.
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